Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is a figure updated annually by the Department of Health and Human Services. The numbers are reached by adding up the minimum amount of income needed to afford the cost of living, which includes food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and other needs. FPL simplifies the measure of poverty for the purpose of determining eligibility for programs like Medicaid. Federal poverty level is also referred to as poverty guidelines, which differs from the poverty thresholds, which are issued by the Census Bureau, and used for statistical purposes rather than qualification for various federal assistance programs.

The poverty guideline changes based on family size, as seen in the charts below. When Medicaid eligibility is being evaluated, a percentage of the FPL is taken into account for various groups of people. Many of these percentages are higher than they used to be in certain areas, such as Medicaid coverage for pregnant women and children, where you typically see 133% FPL in most states. Below is the current Department of Health and Human Services guideline for Federal Poverty Level, indicating family size on the left, and annual income on the right.

 

48 Contiguous States & the District of Columbia

*Add $4,020 for households with more than 8 members.

 

Alaska

*Add $5,030 for households with more than 8 members.

 

Hawaii

*Add $4,620 for households with more than 8 members.

 

 

References

 

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2013 Poverty Guidelines.